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Great post mmarconi. Thanks.
I guess one thing that still concerns me is that the 300 2.8 is about 2.3LBs lighter than the 120-300 2.8. The 500 f/4 is actually quite close in weight to the 120-300. Have you ever carried it on your BR, and if so, how did that work out.
Looked at the specs, didn't realize the new Sigma was that heavy, I have a Nikon 300 f2.8 VR which weighs 6.2 lbs so roughly 1.2lbs lighter than the Sigma. I've rarely used the BR with the 500 it's mostly on the monopod or tripod. About the only time I shoot it handheld is for eagles along the Mississippi river which means a short walk from the car to where I shoot, just carry it by the lens foot. Even for eagles in flight I prefer the 300 with a 1.4 or 1.7 TC.
I gather when you say BR #7, you are referring to the BR Curve (RS-7). I was considering the BR Sport, which looks like it would distribute the weight a bit better. Just curious, do you have any problems with the #7 wanting to slide off your shoulder (one of the things the Sport seeks to address)
Yes the RS-7 with curve, I don't think the sport was available when I bought the strap, it was a while ago. I know some guys much prefer the sport, been told the camera doesn't swing around as much. To tell the truth I never had a problem with the camera wanting to swing much on me, I usually have my right hand resting on as I walk. The strap doesn't slide at all, really stays put, both while moving and when raising the camera for a shot, it's my favorite feature of BlackRapid straps. You do have to spend a little time getting it adjusted right (length and stops).
I have to admit to not being clear on what you mean by the lens foot is positioned 270 degrees to the camera body and that the foot rests on your wrist with palm cradling the lens. Would you have a picture or perhaps could you take another crack at describing this?
I'll take another shot at explaining If you have the lens mounted, viewing the camera from the back I move the tripod collar so the lens foot is at the 9:00 o'clock position and lock. Then adjust the length of the strap so when the camera is hanging at you side and your arm (same side as camera) is in a relaxed position at your side you want the bottom of lens foot to fall about where your 2nd knuckle is. This way all you have to do is grab the foot by wrapping your fingers around it and lift a little to give your shoulder a rest. Should have also said I have a Wimberely replacement foot on the lens which has a longer foot making it easier to grab. (Kirk and Really Right stuff are the same).
I actually have a small Kirk clamp attached to the BR strap. Use the clamp to attach the lens via the foot, easy on and off. I've thought about using LockTite on the threads between the BR FastnerR and the Kirk clamp, but again I've never had a problem. I do have all my camera gear insured though
What was it about the #7 that made using it in combination with a backpack an uncomfortable setup?
If you put the backpack on first the shoulder harnesses will keep the BlackRapid from its proper position on your back throwing most of the weight back on your neck, not comfortable at all. If you but the BR on first then the backpack's shoulder harnesses will get in the way when raising the camera for a shot as they will be over the BR strap.
What type of tilt head do you use on your monopod? Are you happy with it?
I use a Feisol monopod (large one) with a Kirk monopod head, it's fairly new. Wife got it for me last year. Absolutely love the head, makes shooting from a monopod a joy. Can't say enough good about. It locks down like a rock with just a quick turn on the tension know. It handles my 300 or 500 with ease, no movement at all when locked down.
Do you use any kind of additional connection or safety strap when using your RS #7? Your monopod with the tilt head?
I don't use any of the safety straps other suggest, never felt the need and I don't like to overcomplicate things while I'm shooting.
I don't think you can go wrong with a BR strap and their relatively inexpensive as camera gear goes.
I went through the same process you now find yourself in, read everything I could find, tried lots of different approaches, the BR is great. The other straps mentioned in this thread are probably just as good, the key to adjust them to your style of shooting. That said I find myself going the monopod route way more often than the strap anymore. It's just easier to carry heavy equipment all day through the woods, gives you a little more stability then handheld, is fairly quick to shoot with and it's easy to pop the camera/lens off it when the need arises (BIF).
Hope that helps.